I found, quite by accident, a very interesting website this morning. The website cites an HDC Research and Louis Finklestein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of the Jewish Theological Seminary (that’s a mouthful!) that polls 1,100 American physicians and discovers that 3 out of 4 of them believe that God has and is currently performing miracles. 55% said they have witnessed medical miracles in their own profession, and two thirds encourage their patients to pray to god for their own healing miracle. Most common among these miracles were cancers that suddenly went into remission, beating a bad infection, or surviving some type of toxin. Many of these conditions, while not necessarily fatal, could certainly have been disfiguring or debilitating.
But that wasn’t really the point.
The question posed, in light of the medical humanitarianism of god, is why he never heals amputees. For all the diseases he sweeps under the rug, no one has ever lost an arm, leg, or any other body part, prayed for it on his pillow, and had it grow back by the morning. Why do you suppose that is? Are cancer sufferers more noble in god’s eyes than the dude who lost both of his legs in a car wreck? Does god just not like amputees, or are they outside of his area of expertise?
This made me think of something that happened while I was a kid in grade school. I probably mentioned once before, that in order to avoid sending me to the sixth-grade center, (it was in the black section of town — heaven forbid!) my parents instead had me go to St. Paul’s Catholic. A few of the teachers were ex-nuns, we had a daily religions class, and every Friday we all went to mass. There was a lot of talkin’ to god goin’ on.
One day, god returned the favor.
A polite, quietly spoken young man dressed in a brown robe and Birkenstocks sat down all alone in the church one day, plainly carrying on his end of a two-way conversation with god. While he would smile and converse with anyone else who walked up and talked with him, he would also constantly be shifting his eyes up over their shoulder to make contact with someone else. He didn’t last but about a half-hour before the priest had him hauled away by the men in the white coats. It always struck me as richly ironic that in a church and school where speaking to the high lord god was preached, taught, and drilled into impressionable young heads, even the head priest knew that you had to be delusional if god answered you back. And we lock up delusional people.
It’s a weird scale though. A sweet guy in a church gets a straight jacket, but a guy who says god appointed him president and says he has superpowers (looking into men’s souls) is okey-doke. (Personally I think the fact that god appointed Bush president is the best evidence yet that he isn’t really on our side.)
This isn’t really germane to the conversation but I thought it was funny. I love those places that leave you with a little bit of wisdom from the bible… so here’s mine!
Exodus 21:20-21 (New International Version)
20 “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.